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Do Your Executives Understand the Value of Data Governance?


Does your organization have the information it needs to make sound, real-time decisions? Is there confidence in your firm’s business reporting? Can you track KPIs? Are you in compliance with global and industry-specific laws related to data? Effective, modern data governance helps you answer these questions.

High-quality, governed data is essential to timely and effective decision-making. It’s critical for ensuring regulatory, legal and financial compliance, as well. Yet, sometimes getting access to data and being confident in its integrity can be difficult. This challenge is exacerbated by the proliferation of big data.

Today, organizations are overwhelmed with the amount of data that needs to be managed and analyzed. Yet, according to Accenture, 79% of executives believe that companies that don’t embrace big data will face competitive challenges. And because of this fear, 83% of these executives report they are pursuing big data projects.

Growing Demand for Actionable Insights

Now more than ever, there’s a growing need to be able to analyze and act on data in real-time. But making sense of high volumes of data, particularly in the context of informed decision-making, can seem like a daunting task.

To address this challenge, companies are making considerable investments to harness, manage and integrate data, so they can gain much-needed insight into business performance and opportunities. They also want to ensure the appropriate fiscal and legal controls are in place, especially if they’re in a highly regulated industry, like financial services.

Technology Can Only Do So Much

As the data-informed demands increase, so does the cost of data access. Traditional and big data-focused technologies are available to help ensure that enterprise-wide data is integrated and accessible. Worldwide, big data-related software and services are projected to increase from $42B last year to $103B in 2027, according to Wikibon.

But when it comes to policy and processes, there is often a lack of complete clarity on data ownership, access, usage and management — along with who is responsible for making changes to the data. As a result, the data that is housed in these expensive systems may not be accurate, with issues dating back years and even decades. And without effective, modern data governance, the issues and lack of clarity will compound.

What is Data Governance?

This explosion of data and related technologies has re-centered the spotlight on the need for data governance. If you’re reading this blog, you probably know about data governance. But for those who don’t, here is how we define it:

Data governance is the organizing framework for establishing strategy, objectives and policies for effectively managing data. It consists of people, processes and technologies required to manage and ensure quality, availability, usability, integrity, consistency, auditability and security of data.

Data governance strives to ensure companies have reliable and consistent data sets to assess performance and make management decisions.

The Challenges of Data Governance

Our State of Data Governance survey revealed current trends, organizational challenges and opportunities and the business drivers for implementing a governance program.

Specifically, we discovered that:

  • Many organizations struggle to launch and/or sustain a governance program.
  • There are universal issues and obstacles that detract from effective governance.
  • Organizations object to the cost and usability of governance tools and software.
  • It’s difficult for organizations to manage and sustain a business glossary.

Why Does Data Governance Matter?

Despite its challenges, everyone in an organization derives benefit from effective data governance. And executives have the most to gain. When they support and fund a modern data governance program — one that is thoughtful, adopted by the organization and ongoing — it’s their best way to ensure compliance with corporate standards and regulations and manage data-related risk. Also, data governance will bring order to the data chaos and allow the executives (and their business areas, teams and front-line staff) to make decisions based on data-informed knowledge, rather than gut instinct or poor-quality information.

Get Started, Get Talking

Getting started with data governance doesn’t have to be a massive organizational burden. Assessing your organization’s current state is a first step, followed by visualizing a desired future state. You may find that data is being governed in parts of the organization already — and that this success can be replicated elsewhere. Or you may find you’ll need to start fresh and build a governance foundation.

If you’re a business manager or senior executive reading this, are you doing what you can to champion modern data governance? If you’re not in a management role, we encourage you to speak up and join others at your company who want to take their data governance program to a new level.

Learn more about our data governance consulting services and how you can get started.

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